Dale Earnhardt Jr. once offered to take a $1 million pay cut, here's why

When the recession hit a decade ago, Dale Earnhardt Jr. offered to take a million-dollar pay cut. Not to save his job, but the jobs of members of his Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR racing team.

Earnhardt spent 10 seasons driving for Hendrick's team.

Earnhardt spent 10 seasons driving for Hendrick's team. (Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

“I don’t remember what was going on in the sport but everybody was a little nervous and I called him one time and told him to take a million dollars off my salary if he needed to,” Earnhardt said during an interview with team owner Rick Hendrick on Dale Jr. Download podcast on NBCSN. Hendrick said he’d never gotten an offer from a driver like that.

“I was shocked," Hendrick said. "That just shows you the character that he has and his relationship with people.”

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Hendrick didn’t say if he had to take him up on the gesture, but Earnhardt added that he wasn’t motivated by money because at that point he already had more than he knew what to do with.

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However, during the original negotiations to bring Earnhardt to the team, the driver did make one “frivolous” and “petty” demand.

Earnhardt's earlier cars featured black side skirts.

Earnhardt's earlier cars featured black side skirts. (Mark Elias/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Earnhardt wanted his car’s side skirts – the panels that hang beneath the body between the tires to close the gap to the ground –the same color as the rest of the car, rather than just black.

“I drive the car, I want the dang thing to look good. I never understood drivers that don’t care about what their car looks like.”

Earnhardt thinks the body-colored skirts make the cars look lower to the ground and faster.

Earnhardt thinks the body-colored skirts make the cars look lower to the ground and faster. (John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Hendrick had no problem with the request--in fact, he let him design the entire paint job.

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